This no-knead English muffin bread is soft, coarse-textured white bread, with all those nooks and crannies that we love to fill with butter and jam. Not only is it a great bread, but it is also so easy, it is actually a fun recipe to make.
Introduction and My Rating
This bread is most commonly sliced and toasted then slathered with butter and jelly to fill all those nooks and crannies. AKA English Toasting bread, it makes a great hearty breakfast.
It is easier to make and a great substitute for the real muffins with the same great taste and texture.
A final FYI, English muffins and this bread are American creations and not English. Although apparently developed by a British immigrant.
When I saw a Cook Country episode with their English Muffin Bread Recipe (membership required), .with their take on it, and it was simple, I had to do it. Who would have thought a simple recipe from American Test Kitchen?
After several trial runs, I had my modifications.
Yep, a 5. A lower five but still a 5. Did I mention that I'm a bread lover?
Getting fresh milk to the suggested 120° requires a saucepan or repeated short microwaving.
Plus, I wasn't happy with the 120 degrees. Yeast can die at too high of a temperature (in the 120 range). My initial try, the rise just wasn't up to snuff. So I'm going with a little lower temperature and a little longer rise. Dry milk and proofing the yeast first. I find this simpler.
But you can use fresh milk. Replace the 1 1/2 cup of water entirely with milk and eliminate the dry milk
The original Cooks Country recipe used bread flour. But many others use standard all-purpose (AP) flour. The main difference is the protein content. AP contains 9-11%, and bread flour contains 11-13%. The more protein, the more gluten. Since this is a quick, no-knead recipe, the bread flour may help a little more gluten development.
I frequently have bread flour, but if you don't, go ahead with normal AP flour.
All baking yeast is the same organism (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). So what is the difference? The size of the granules. Active dry yeast that your grandmother used has larger granules.
Instant Yeast (also known as Fast-Rising, Rapid-Rise, Quick Rise, and/or Bread Machine Yeast) has smaller granules and will start working faster. You can exchange them equally, but the active dry will just take longer to start working. Read that as a longer rise. So use what you have.
You should be able to mix all the dry, including the yeast and sugar then add the water or milk. I just feel better proofing yeast, plus I feel the yeast is fully distributed.
Loaf pan size
The standard American loaf pan is 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches and is what I suggest here. You can use a 9 inch, but bigger is not suggested since the loaf is not tall.
A nice coating of butter in the pan and a coating of cornmeal will help with that "English muffin" taste.
350° and no convection. Bake for about 30-35 minutes.
When is the bread done?
Cooking by time works well for many baking products, but with bread, the clock is less reliable.
I always love my thermometer, and an internal temperature of 190° is a reliable endpoint.
There things like a nice brown color, and a hollow sound when tapped should also be present.
The Dough and Results
This is a "light dough" with not a lot of structure. It needs to be contained by the loaf pan to bake well. The top will not "crown," and actually, it may "fall" a little at the end.
Be sure to let the loaf cool completely before cutting, or you may just ripe it apart. And when you do cut it, a sharp serrated blade knife is a good idea.
Like many homemade loaves of bread, there are no preservatives, so the shelf life is relatively short, probably in the 3-4 day range.
You can freeze this bread tightly sealed for 2-3 months. Like all bread, refrigerator storage is not recommended.
📖Other Bread Recipes
Things I always have on hand. Note the dry milk. Fresh milk can be used.
Add one pack of instant yeast to 1 1/2 cup of 105 - 110-degree water. Add 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Mix and let sit while you do the dry mix. It should foam a little after a few minutes. You can use fresh milk. Replace the 1 1/2 cup of water entirely with milk and eliminate the dry milk
Mix the dry. 2 1/2 cup bread flour (but AP flour should work), 1/2 cup dried milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Mix wet into dry and stir until there is no dry left.
Spray some plastic wrap with a good spray of PAM on one side and cover. The PAM will prevent sticking if it touches the sticky dough. Place in a warm spot until double in size. About 60 minutes.
Coat a loaf pan with butter and the swirl about two tablespoons of cornmeal to coat. This is an 8X4 glass pan, but metal should be fine.
Preheat oven to 375°. Move the dough into the pan. Cover with the plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until even with the top of the pan — about 30 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap. Bake until golden brown and internal temp of 190-200°. About 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool about 60 minutes on a rack.
Easy English Muffin Bread
- 1 package instant yeast - approximately 1 tablespoon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water - You may use milk and eliminate the dry milk
- 1/2 cup dried milk
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour - May use AP flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- butter - For loaf pan
- Cornmeal - For loaf pan
- Add one pack of instant yeast to 1 1/2 cup of 105 - 110-degree water. Add 1 1/2 tsp sugar. Mix and let sit while you do the dry mix. It should foam a little after a few minutes.You may use milk instead of water then eliminate the dry milk in the next step.
- Mix the dry. 2 1/2 cup bread flour (but AP flour should work), 1/2 cup dried milk, one teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
- Mix wet into dry and stir until there is no dry left.
- Spray some plastic wrap with a good spray of PAM on one side and cover. The PAM will prevent sticking if it touches the sticky dough. Place in a warm spot until double in size. About 60 minutes.
- Coat a loaf pan (8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches) with butter and then swirl about two tablespoons of cornmeal to coat completely.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Move the dough into the pan. Cover with the plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until even with the top of the pan. About 30 minutes.
- Remove plastic wrap. Bake until golden brown and internal temp of 190-200°. About 30-35 minutes.
- Cool on a rack for about 60 minutes before cutting.
- You may use fresh milk instead of dried milk. Replace all the water with milk and eliminate the dried milk.
- Bread flour is suggested but normal all purpose flour may be substituted.
- Most yeasts will work other than old fashion “active dry yeast”.
- I suggest a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan. A 9 by 5 should be ok but not bigger.
- I suggest using a thermometer to check for a final internal temperature of 190° to 200°. Also, a nice even brown color and a hollow sound when tapped should be present.
- The top of the loaf will probably be flat or even sunken a bit.
- Cool completely before cutting or it will rip apart.
- To store. Tightly sealed at room temperature for 2-3 days. It may last 4 days but maybe not. Do Not Refrigerate. You may freeze well sealed for 2-3 days.
Editors Note: Originally Published January 18, 2014. Update with expanded discussion and refreshed photos. A table of contents was also added to aid navigation.